You need to know precisely what you’ll do on a race day. Charter every long run, perform the hard workout, recovery effort to prepare for your upcoming marathon or half run. You need to protect your speculation with a race day plan if you took 10 to 16 weeks to train. Draft a plan three weeks before the race day, then adjust it later if necessary.
By distinguishing a realistic finish time, using tested fueling, hydration, planning per kilometer pace, and wardrobe strategy, you boost your chance of meeting your goal, setting a personal record or simply crossing the finish line whichever of these two. Here’s how to craft your best plan.
“Plot out a solid race day strategy to dodge accidents and accomplish your goals”
Set an Achievable Goal Time”
Planning your race pace and your strategy will help you to finish your event by having an idea of how long it will take. If in the past four months you have run a shorter race, you can check that time in a race predictor calculator, which will give you times for a variety of distances given proper training.
The closer the distance is to your goal race, the more accurate a predictor it will be. Take a look back at the average pace of your long runs, if you haven’t race recently. A half 20 to 40 seconds faster per kilometer or you can typically expect a race marathon. A truth serum run can test your goal time, a long run which close to half your goal distance run at goal pace. Based on my research, doing one three to five weeks from a race day is recommended by runners. For the last 10 or 11 goal paces, a half-marathoner should run 16 to 20 kilometers. And 28 to 32 kilometers with the last 20 at goal pace for marathoners. The effort should feel comfortably hard. If it feels harder, or you’re unable to maintain the pace, scale back your goal.
Design Course-Specific Splits
When you have your goal time, research the average weather to determine how to pace yourself, the course profile, and the porta-potty locations. An effective method is to have collective time goals for key points 10-K, 16-K, half-marathon, 32-K, and for type-A runners, they create a spreadsheet and pad at a different pace for each kilometer. For the first three to five kilometers to warm up, add at least six to eight seconds to your planned average pace, help yourself to resist the temptation to go out fast, and navigate the crowd. For the first 6 kilometers, even if you run 15 seconds slower, you are only about one minute behind with 36 kilometers to make it up. For the more adjustment, build in time to get up hills-the steeper. Usually, you need a pit stop around 10-K, add a minute to that kilometer. On stretches, you tend to run well like downhills and flats, pick up your pace slightly in the second half then determine where to gradually make up the time. Write in your arm or scribble it on athletic tape and stick it to your arm on race day if you want your plan with you.
Have a Hydration, Fuel, and Wardrobe Strategy
Rehearse on a few long runs late in your training, instead of trying anything new on race day. When in race day, wake up at the time that you will rise, but keep in mind the time changes if you’ll be traveling, eat your prepared breakfast to eat, and put on the clothes and shoes you’ll wear. Note what works and have it on hand in race morning. Find out what race provided gels and sports drinks on the course and try it in training if you plan to use them. Write down how much water, fuel, and sports drink you take in and when, and incorporate it into your plan. Make a mental note of where the aid stations will be and at which you’ll need to take a gel.
Make a Race-Morning Schedule
Particularly if you are a first-time marathoner, you want to know exactly where you’re going to be the entire morning of the race. Make a schedule of everything you’ll do, like eating, getting dressed, getting to the race, checking your stuff, standing on the porta-potty line, and finding your corral from the time you wake up until start time. Plan on being at the race at least one hour before the gun goes off by adding at least an extra half-hour to your travel time to allow for traffic jams or missed connections.
Have a Backup Plan
Adjust your goal if the forecast calls for unseasonable warmth. High temperatures can swift blood to mobilize to your skin to shed body heat, leaving less to fuel your muscles and digestive system. Depending on how hot it is and how experienced you are, Start slow anywhere from six to 30 seconds per kilometer slower than goal pace. Pick up the pace by one to two seconds per kilometer after the halfway point, if you’re feeling up to it. Runners recommend dumping cups of cold water over your head to keep body temperature down. Put some ice under your hat if it is available, and drink to thirst as you run.
Common Errors to Avoid
Last Minute Cramming
Its’ too late for trying to make up missed mileage or unsatisfactory workouts, you could end up feeling less-than-fresh on the starting line. Instead, adjust your time goal to match the training you did get in.
You need to get lots of rest in the days leading to the race, reduce the mileage but not the intensity. Do a short one work out at 10-K pace in weeks one of two of a three-week taper to keep your muscle memory sharp.
At this stage, your appetite has dropped down with your mileage. Starting 72 hours of race time, make 70 to 80 percent of what you eat carbohydrates. You need carbohydrates to fill your muscle glycogen stores for the big day.
Advice from Runners
- Run Your Race – Try not to get carried away by the crowd or by your own adrenaline at the sound of the gun. Live in the moment, take in the experience, and focus on yourself. Running is not about beating others, but about beating your best.
- Keep Cadence at 180 Steps Per Minute – Running requires quick intervals of balancing on one leg. The longer we stay on one leg, the more effort we need to keep the balance. At 180 steps per minute, we stay on one leg only for a shorter period of time, requiring almost no need for balance. At this cadence our weight shifts continuously, putting less stress on our leg muscles.
- Stay Hydrated – Grab a drink at every water or aid station during a race. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, sip some fluid. Don’t let it come to a point when you are already feeling thirsty, this is too late as you are already dehydrated.